GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Abreu couldn't answer the question.It's not that he didn't have the words. But when the first baseman was asked about becoming a leader on the 2017 White Sox, his first response was, "I don't really know.""You know, me and the people that know me know that
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Jose Abreu couldn't answer the question.
It's not that he didn't have the words. But when the first baseman was asked about becoming a leader on the 2017 White Sox, his first response was, "I don't really know."
"You know, me and the people that know me know that I'm not that kind of guy who is going to answer that question," said a smiling Abreu through interpreter Billy Russo. "But if people see me as a leader, I'm glad and I feel honored by that.
• Spring:Info | Tickets | Schedule | Gear
"My intention is always to help the guys. I try to give them some advice. I try to find a way to help them to be better. That's one of my goals every day here with the team. If they say that I'm a leader, that's good, but it's not something I'm going to say about myself."
Abreu clearly leads by example.
In each of his first three seasons, Abreu has hit at least .290 with 25 homers and 100 RBIs. Abreu joined Jose Pujols and Joe DiMaggio as the only players in Major League history to have 25-plus homers, 100-plus RBIs, 175-plus hits and 30-plus doubles in each of their first three seasons.
Although the individual numbers have been excellent, Abreu has not played for a team that has won 80 games, let alone finished above .500. His frustration over the lack of team success has shown through at times in his respectful but direct manner. But with two weeks remaining in Spring Training, Abreu likes what he sees from a rebuilding group not figuring to win in '17.
"First, I want to thank [former White Sox manager] Robin [Ventura]. I played with him for three years and he was a very good man," Abreu said. "He has all my respect and now with [current White Sox manager] Rick [Renteria], he's the right person in this moment. He came with the right energy that this group needed, and he's a very well-respected man. He is very focused on the things we have to do.
"He's trying to push all of us to our limits. He's trying to get from us the best of what we can do."
If Abreu can contribute aside from his powerful bat to that "best" as a mentor or even as a leader, he's happy to help the development of this crew.
"We have been like a family here. That's the atmosphere and relationship we have right now with all the guys and the coaches," Abreu said. "It's just a matter to keep working in this process and keep doing the things we need to do to win games.
"I know that the season is going to be a challenge for all of us. But if we feel that we are like a family and we have each other's back, it's going to be fun."
Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.